Sunday, April 26, 2009

Interview with Dax, Bruce Golden's cat

Please welcome my feline guest, Dax!

Dax lives with science fiction & fantasy author Bruce Golden, whose novels have received rave reviews on many prestigious publications such as Asimov's Science Fiction (I bet this has gone to his head!) His novels include Better Than Chocolate, Mortals All, and the upcoming Evergreen. His short fiction has also been included in several anthologies. Anyway, Dax is here today to spill the beans on Bruce. Welcome, Dax!

Bio: Dax was born in 1995, and began life, along with his sister, Odo (recently deceased), as a feral kitten, even though he comes from a very long line of cats associated with author Bruce Golden. However, Dax, unlike his sister, always came to eat when Bruce brought out the food, and adapted to his human friend quite quickly. (His sister had to be caught and coerced, but after a few weeks was as loving any cat could be.) Dax is known to be very human-like and very intelligent as cats go. Though age is beginning to slow Dax down, he still follows Bruce wherever the human goes.

Thanks for stopping by this side of the woods, Dax. Tell us, what type of books does Bruce write?

His first two books, Mortals All and Better Than Chocolate, were both science fiction, as is his latest book, Evergreen. He calls it his finest work in more than 30 years as a creative artist, but I think he gets a little carried away with the superlatives some times. Though he says some day he’d like to write a non-scifi book, I’ll believe it when I see it. He’s written 30-plus short stories, and they’re all scifi or fantasy. The cool thing is that from the very beginning he’s always liked to include cats in his stories whenever possible. He has an unsold screenplay in which a great-great-great uncle of mine, Nomad Muad’Dib, plays a large role.

Has Bruce immortalized you in any of his books?

That’s kind of a sore point with me. You see, in his first book, Mortals All, Bruce chose to include my nephew Jekyll as a character (Jekyll and I are not close. We tolerate each other, though, on occasion, I’ll chase him around, just to let him know who’s top cat.) I’ve been waiting and waiting for Bruce to put me in one of his stories, and he swears that I’m going to be in the book he’s currently writing, as a cat referred to as Prince Dax. The royalty thing’s a nice touch, don’t you think? And so purrrrrfectly fitting.

I like to stare at my mom while she writes to make her aware that she’s ignoring me and make her feel guilty. What do you do to annoy Bruce while he writes?

Lately I’ve developed this really pitiful cry—it would bring tears to your eyes. I’ll wander around the house crying until I get some attention. Bruce gets very annoyed when he’s writing, and sometime he’ll yell at me to shut up. But mostly he just asks me what’s wrong. The joke’s on him. Nothing’s wrong, I just like to cry pitifully to make him feel guilty.

Good work, Dax! Tell us, does Bruce let you sit on his lap while he’s working at the computer?

I’m not much of a lap sitter, though both my nephews, Joker and Jekyll, take turns on his lap while he’s writing. When Bruce was writing Mortals All, Jekyll spent the entire time sitting on the back of the chair (this was before he got fat, and still fit there). That’s probably why he got a part in the book. I’m more of a kneader than a lap sitter. I also like to get up on the desk and lay right in front of the computer, which drives Bruce crazy, because he can’t get at his keyboard to work.

I once tried to sit on my mom's lap, but she said I almost smothered her to death (what a lie!) Anyway, what advice would you give to those pets that have to live with irrational, egotistical authors?

Under the category “Do what I say, not what I do,” pets should give their authors a wide berth during those irrational periods. Don’t bug ‘em, or you might get a box of tissues thrown at you. But you also need to stroke their egos, so rub up against them, turn on the purr, and congratulate them on their accomplishments—even if they’re not making enough money with their writing to buy you the really expensive cat food.

Wise advice, Dax! Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Meet Carranza, Lisa J. Lickel's fictional cat!

My guest today is a fictional cat named Carranza.

As Carranza humbly admits, he's a real hero who has saved the lives of many characters in her mom's books. His mom's name, by the way, is Lisa J. Lickel and she writes Christian/mystery novels aimed to inspire and entertain. She keeps a blog at

Carranza's bio (from his mom's mouth):
He is a fictional cat based on a couple of cats we used to have at home when I was growing up. One was a long-hair gray tabby who was never comfortable inside the house, the other a crazed Siamese we named the Terrible Turk who used to chase my brother and me around. Carranza is obviously not really Spanish, and doesn't pretend to know the language very well. He just thinks being suave will get him everything.

Hola, Carranza, thank you for taking time out of your busy life of fighting crime to join us.

Da nada.

What’s with your name? Who chose it? What has that done to your self esteem and what does that say about Ms Lickel?

Si, Carranza aqui. I was born one stormy morning, when the hour was darkest, when the battle to conquer the story was nearly lost. Ms Lickel beheld my magnificence and plucked me from oblivion to help her beleaguered and misguided brainchild: Senorita Judy Winters, heroine of The Gold Standard. Judy truly needed me, for she could not discern the deceitfulness of others of her kind. It was Judy who accepted my mission and granted me the most highly exalted name of General Venustiano Carranza, the First Chief and reformer of our sister civilization, Mexico. Senorita Judy’s eighth grade history students agreed.

I, Carranza, with the most humble showing of mio gato esteem, solemnly accepted my duty—to expose evil and represent the worthy. I sacrificed myself for the greater good of Senorita Judy, and my benefactress, Ms Lickel, who will make certain that I and my descendants will never be forgotten. And for such, Ms. Lickel has my undying gratitude.

Yes, that's very humble indeed, Carranza. So, tell us about Ms Lickel as a writer and as a pet owner. No sugar coating here. Give us the real deal. This blog is only read by pets, so don’t worry, she won’t find out what you say. In the event that you find yourself into trouble, I can always offer protection. I have a good connection at the CIA.

Bah – as if I, the great Carranza, need protection! I am the defender of computer and farm, of virtue, and of Senorita Judy’s shoes. Ms. Lickel has done me the greatest of honors in freeing me to assist Senorita Judy in any way I see fit. Since I am a virtual aide de camp, I do not worry Ms Lickel by accidentally causing needless and unfortunate allergic reaction in her mate.

Senorita Judy, on the other hand, exiled me to a most wretched and miserable existence with Tia Louisa in a far off foreign land of dirt and strange creatures with crowns and feathers instead of fur. I did not think I would forgive her, until I beheld…her – mia encantadora gata – my beloved Cat. Tio amoro. (Tail twitch.)

When Senorita Judy came to reside with me in my new kingdom after Tia Louisa’s unfortunate murder, I showed her my heart was great enough with love to help her find the killer and save the farm from los banditos. Ms Lickel knew that only I, Carranza, could save Senorita Judy. Ms Lickel, however—she could share a little of the wild catnip from her yard with me once in a great while. There, you—Ms Calvani—put that down in the interview.

Aha! I knew there was something devious about your author mom, keeping the cat nip all to herself! Does Ms Lickel ask your advice when she’s stuck? Does she even listen?

But of course. (Both ears twitch.) She had already borrowed of the elegant persuasive insights of my son, Pancho Villa, to help Senora Judy in the subsequent tale of The Map Quilt, when she realized that I, Carranza, must be allowed my voice and perceptive ways to shine forth first. The fact that her editor demanded a rewrite of The Gold Standard after she had written its sequel, The Map Quilt, had nothing to do with her realization that she desperately needed me to save her first story.

Ms Lickel: “It’s true. I did need him. Carranza helped Judy and Hart immensely.”

Thanks for the input, Lisa! (gosh, these authors are always wanting to steal the spotlight! Who asked her opinion?) Tell us, Carranza, are you happy with the way your mom immortalized you in her novel? Did she show your real character or did she exaggerate it for the book’s purpose?

As you can see in my above answers: in a word, Si. I am the true hero of The Gold Standard, and my son, Pancho Villa, and grandson, Santa Ana, live on. I am most proud. Of course, I deserve it. And, I must tell you, my true nature was splendidly portrayed. I did not even need human words to show all of you my trustworthiness. I saved Senorita Judy not once, not twice, but three times. I even saved Senor Hart, so they could wed and live happily ever after and have more adventures. Ah, if only I and my beloved Gata could do the same. Unrequited love—it is my only complaint.

Of all your mom’s books, which one is your favorite? Why?

I must confess, excuse me while I chase that, er…never mind, that I am most proud of Pancho’s story, The Map Quilt, which he told to Ms Lickel after he helped Senorita Judy find the quilt in the trunk of her attic. (Whisker groom.) However, without me to save the day in The Gold Standard, he would not have been able to tell his story.

(Somewhat disdainfully): Ms Lickel tells a reasonably fair account of my cousin, Memnet, in her Message stories. (Ear twitch and groom.) Naturally, one cannot possibly consider a foreign invader, Egyptian Mau, in the same magnificence as myself, but still, I allow her to continue so—as long as she will never love another as much as I.

Ms Lickel: “Don’t worry, Carranza. You’ll always be my hero.”

Excuse me, but I must go now to gather another boon to present to mia adora Gata.

Gracias, Carranza! Next time, please bring your Gata with you!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Meet Mickey, Jennifer Gladen's 'Queen of the Household'

Welcome to my blog, Mickey!

Mickey lives with a very nice editor and writer called Jennifer Gladen. Like my mom, Jennifer writes children's picture books for Guardian Angel Publishing. She also edits a super cool Catholic ezine--My Light Magazine. In fact, Mom interviewed Jennifer for Suite101 last month.

But let's hear a bit about my guest....

Mickey is the spokescat for the Gladen home. She is the oldest of three cats, a dog and a turtle. She is the self-proclaimed Queen of the Household. She is known to eat only by herself. If another cat comes to eat while she is there, she will, out of the goodness of her heart, remover herself from the dining area until it has been cleared.

1. Thanks for stopping by and spilling the beans, Mickey! Tell us, how long does Jennifer work each day on a book and ignores you?

Jennifer works at the computer all day. Something about a magazine (My Light Magazine) and writing for children. I can’t understand how someone could sit in front of a boring screen all day when they have me for fun. I could understand if she was watching me bat around a ball of yarn, but this I will never understand.

2. So what do you do for amusement in the meantime?

Well, we have the two newbie cats, Mittens and Sunny. When Mittens came here, she walked in like she owned the place. Huh! I had to show her who was boss by tossing out random hisses and batting her once in a while. Now I do it just for fun, especially when I’m bored…and I’m sure you know how often THAT is.

3. I like to stare at my mom while she writes to make her aware that she’s ignoring me and make her feel guilty. What do you do to annoy Jennifer while she writes?

Ahhh. I have a few tricks under my paw.

The first thing I do is make her think I’m starving. Even though I just finished eating, I’ll sit in front of my bowl and push it around on the kitchen floor. I’ll do this until she gets up and feeds me. (She made the mistake of setting her office up next to the kitchen. Ha ha. ) Then I’ll take a few bites of the food and walk away. Yes, it is a little bit of work, but it’s all worth it when I hear her grumble in frustration.

Another thing I’ll do is sit 2 feet away from her chair and meow. Not just any meow. I make it a short raspy meow that is hard to ignore. When she turns and looks at me, I just sit there and stare. He he. Sometimes I crack myself up.

When one of her children needs something and she gets up, I steal her chair!!

One of my favorites, though, is just jumping right up on the desk and wedging myself onto her lap. I make it a point to step on the keyboard. Once I’m on her lap I don’t just sit there. I try to pace and turn. Then I’ll rub my head against her hand. If she doesn’t pet me, I’ll do that short, raspy meow thing again. Gets her every time.

In the event I am unavailable, I hired Sunny to park himself on Jennifer’s computer desk. That is his job. Although I’ve caught him sleeping on the job. I think he needs more training in this mission.

4. Good work! What advice would you give to those pets that have to live with irrational, egotistical authors?

Be persistent! I don’t know about your author mom, but when mine gets on a roll, she has been known to kick me off her lap and put me back on the floor. In that case, I keep hopping up on her lap until she realizes I am not going away.

5. What is the best part of having an author as a mom? The worse part?

The best part of having an author as a mom is getting to hear those time-stealing stories when she reads them aloud. I like to think she’s reading to me. The worst part is all the time it takes for her to work on a project. And then, when she’s done, she pulls out another one. It’s one huge everlasting cycle.

I know exactly what you mean, Mickey! It's so hard to share Mom with all her projects!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Interview with Herman, Henry and Holly, Cynthia Reeg's companions

I'm so happy! I have a trio guest today. Two cats AND a dog. It's nice to see they can be civilized with each other. At least in public...

My guests share their home with a very nice children's writer named Cynthia Reeg, author of such delightful picture books as Kitty Kerpunkling, Doggie Day Camp and Gifts from God. She keeps a blog, too. Cynthia travels a lot around the world and in fact she visited my mom when she came to Brussels. They had lunch at a cute restaurant in the Grand Place. I wish my mom had taken me. They make a mean paella valenciana...

BIOS: Herman is a black & white cat with tuxedo markings. He’s cool, calm and collected and likes to meet visitors at the front door. He acts as a morning alarm clock, whether his owners want him to or not.

Henry is a yellow & white cat who is rather clumsy and enjoys chin rubs and evening snuggles. Although he is a large kitty, he’s a scardey cat who runs from doorbells, vacuums, and dogs.

Holly is a young Schnoodle (Schnauzer and Poodle combo) who knows she is the life of the party. She loves to meet people and pets, and she is extremely glad that the world revolves around her. A beefy chew bone is heaven.

OKAY. Describe Cynthia as a writer and as a pet owner. No sugar coating here. Give us the real deal. This blog is only read by pets, so don’t worry, Cynthia won’t find out what you say. In the event that you find yourself into trouble, I can always offer protection. I have a good connection at the CIA.

Herman Meow….since I’ve known Mom Cindy longest, I’ll answer this one. She knows a good thing when she sees it—like picking me out from all those other noisy cats and dogs at the animal shelter adoption day seven years ago. I’m only noisy when it’s feeding time, and okay, I admit most anytime can be considered feeding time on my schedule. She gives excellent kitty massages.

As for her writing, I was there from the start. Helped her with her first picture book—KITTY KERPLUNKING. I think my name should be listed in the credits for that book, but I’m not one to toot my own horn—like our latest arrival.

Holly: Arrf! Arrf! I heard that! Want to play??? Pant! Pant! Pant! Whoosh! (Holly tackles Herman to ground. Herman, with white-tipped feet up in the air, fends off Holly’s friendly attack with half-hearted hisses. Finally, Herman squirms out, scampers away, and jumps to the safety of Mom Cindy’s desk.)

You're so lucky that Cynthia saved you from the shelter! She must have a very kind heart! Are you all the bosses of Cynthia?

Holly: Arf! I’ll answer that question. Of course, I’m the boss. Right from the start I set the rules—MINE! But don’t get me wrong. I’m all about tough LOVE. I mean, who could resist this face. And I’m extremely generous with kisses. I know when Mom Cindy needs to go for a walk and when she needs some play time. I don’t know what she’d do without me.

You do seem to have a very innocent face, Holly. Tell us, of all your mom’s books, which one is your favorite? Why?

Holly: DOGGIE DAY CAMP, of course. She got the idea from me. I told her all about my play days. I practically wrote the book for her—well, not the verb and adverb stuff. She did that on her own, but I was the inspiration. That’s for sure. I like Kit Grady’s illustrations—even if she did make the dog in the book yellow and not white like me. And I bark every time I watch Kim McDougal’s book trailer for DOGGIE DAY CAMP. She fools me with that barking dog sound effect. Good stuff!

Henry saunters into the office, leaps onto the desk, and promptly lays half on half off the computer—purring loudly all the while.

Kit Grady is a super cool illustrator! She's illustrating one of my mom's upcoming picture books. So tell us, how long does Cynthia work each day on a book and ignore you?

Henry: Way too long, if you ask me. I try to help as you can see. I’ve typed a few lines myself, from time to time, when Mom Cindy isn’t looking. See… (Henry paws the caps lock key and punches the keypad.) Oh, darn. She’s hogging all the keys again. How am I ever going to finish my story? Yes, I’m a writer too. I’m plotting out my latest’s sci-fi adventure, REVENGE OF THE SPACE CATS FROM PLANET PLUTO. And yes, I know all about the latest scientific theory debunking Pluto as a planet. Like I said, I’m still plotting this one out. I’m sure there will plenty of changes. Maybe I should start with a title change…

Is your mom as stable as she looks in her website photo?

Herman: Let me answer this one. I know the real scoop. Some major touch-up went into that photo. Now don’t get me wrong, she’s okay as humans go. But I think a pair of perky ears and some long, white whiskers wouldn’t hurt.

Does Cynthia ask your advice when she’s stuck? Does she even listen?

Herman, Henry & Holly: Here. Look at this blog entry and you can see what happens when we try to help her out:

Herman: Let’s just say that she doesn’t exactly appreciate our suggestions.

Holly: We have lots of good ideas too.

Henry: Purrrrfectly wonderful ideas, but she doesn’t listen. She’ll see. I’ll use those ideas in my book, and when it hits the top 10 list, she’ll be sorry.

What is the best part of having an author as a mom?

Holly: She works from home most days, and that means I get to have lots of walks and playtime. Good times!

The worse part?

Henry & Herman: We have to be on our best behavior almost every day. No catting around during the daytime when she’s around. We save that for the night. But we manage to make it through the days--napping is always on our schedule anyway. We make it work.

Will you be boasting to your other pet friends about this interview?

Holly, Herman, & Henry: We’re already twittering about it. We’re high profile pets, and we know publicity is the name of the game. Hey, where are the paparazzi when you need them?

If you come across any paparazzi, please send them my way!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Interview with Shalalu, Eva Batonne's faithful companion

My guest today is sweet Shalalu, a border collie/labrador mix who shares her home with crime fiction author Eva Batonne. Eva is the author of Resurrection Diva, published by Zumaya Publications.

Eva is also an accomplished artist. Check out her stunning work at

Shalalu is 38 pounds of black and white velvet love. She has the classic markings of the border collie with the sleekness of a Labrador. She can hang out with her head in your lap while you read a book and be perfectly contented or go on the longest walk ever. Shalalu was rescued from animal control (they were going to put her down for being too timid!) but in four months she has learned that life is beautiful. When she gets happy she likes to run and it is a gorgeous site to behold because she is built for speed.

Tell us, Shalalu. Are you the boss of Eva Batonne? Oh, don’t you know that while I won’t say that I’m the boss, I know how to get her on program with food, walks, pets and rides in the car-car.

What type of crime fiction books does Eva write? She writes these grisly murder stories, and that is completely ludicrous because she is such a scaredy-cat. She actually scares herself when she writes and I can feel the tension in the room and before you know it she’s making these weird high pitched noises which can only be described as a frightened whining. All this while click, click, tap, tap, she’s typing away, staring at the computer monitor. Quite a worrisome behavior in my opinion but I can’t break her of it.

I can relate to that! My mom wrote a horror novel but she's a scaredy-cat too! Funny, huh? Authors are creazy, if you ask me. So, Shalalu, I don't mean to be rude, but what’s with your name? Did Eva choose it? What has that done to your self esteem and what does that say about her? The animal control named me Cherry. I wasn’t much impressed with that because they were going to put me down. They said I was too timid and not adoptable. But Eva knew better. She sat with her back to me for forty-five minutes leaning against my cage and so I knew she was a woman who could teach me something. I’m a black Labrador/Border Collie mix with red tinge to my short fur. I have a white flair across my chest and white sox and I would have preferred to be named Lightning as I can run so fast it can take your breath away but Eva named me Sha-la-lu. I don’t know, I guess it is feminine and it does have a magical quality to it. She likes to call it out very loud and emphasize the last syllable which I do find a bit unnerving because she actually does it so it sounds like she is howling and I don’t know, it’s just… it’s a bit much. Doncha think?

Now that you mention it, it does have a magical quality. That's quite a story, Shalalu. I'm so glad Eva adopted you. I was admiring her photo earlier today. For sure she's a kind lady, but is she as stable as she looks? I have to say she is way more fun than those photos would suggest. She doesn’t take herself seriously at all and I like that. Okay, I would say she is a little plumper than those photos suggest but I like it because when we watch television I can lay my head on her tummy and it is very snuggly and comfortable. Who wants to cuddle with a bunch of bones and muscle, I mean, let’s just be honest, okay!

I agree! What does your mom do besides writing? Is she a hermit or does she actually set her foot outdoors? Eva is a bit of a madwoman I have to say, she paints, she dances around. She does this thing with a bunch of other humans called Medicine Dance. I went with her once and was able to watch what she was up to. For five hours she did this. Wow, it was unusual. It’s amazing the things human beings do to entertain themselves. In this regard, I find human beings the most admirable and clever if sometimes a little worrisome.

Leave us with some wise words, Shalalu. What advice would you give to those pets that have to live with irrational, egotistical authors? Bite them in the ass! Ooops, don’t tell my mom I said that. I never actually bit her. Or anyone. I did chase the cat once and caught hell for that so I don’t do that anymore. Jeez, I thought she was going to take me back to animal control. No, no. No! I’m a good girl.

Thanks for spilling the beans, Mademoiselle!